Measurement Issues and the Relationship Between Media Freedom and Corruption


Lee B. Becker, Teresa K. Naab, Cynthia English and Tudor Vlad


Advocates for media freedom have consistently argued that corruption goes down when journalists operating in a free media environment are able to expose the excesses of governmental leaders. An evolving body of research finds evidence to support this assertion. Measurement of corruption is a complicated undertaking, and it has received little attention in this literature. This paper focuses on perceptual measures of corruption based on public opinion surveys. It attempts to replicate the finding of a negative relationship between media freedom and corruption using multiple measures of media freedom. The findings challenge the general argument that media freedom unambiguously is associated with lower levels of corruption.

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